As I listen to the tracks on Wither & Fade, the debut album from Glasgow-based emo/post-hardcore band DETER, I’m immediately struck and impressed by the cohesiveness, depth and novelty of the band's sound. The quality of songwriting and production is far superior than anything one might expect on any debut album – let alone a band whose members teamed up to write their first song just over a year ago. The album's production credits go to Gavin Paterson, engineer and owner of Glasgow's Studio 1790. Referring to themselves as a 'dreamo' five-piece on their Facebook page, DETER is comprised of Jamie Logan (vocals), Jonathan Follan (guitar), Floyd Elliott (drums), Daniel Brown (bass), and Caleb Derrick (synth).
Over the past few months, DETER has released two captivating, solid singles ("Pull Me Under", "Telling Myself") that are representative of the range of musical styles and production found throughout Wither & Fade. Their fresh, progressive sound incorporates elements of melodic post-hardcore, emo, and dark indie with a subtle touch of dream/shoegaze.
SoundThread Music Blog caught up with DETER to talk about the origins of the band, their creative process and the songs that comprise Wither & Fade.
"How did it all start for DETER?" was our first question. The band replies, "It started when Jamie, Jonny & Daniel started working together in their college's practice rooms. Jamie then asked if they'd be up to start writing music and form a band. Then straight away we wrote our first song together, 'Thought You Knew.' This happened late December 2017. After playing shows in Glasgow we went through a couple of drummers and it took until the beginning of August 2018 to find our permanent drummer Floyd Elliott. A month later Caleb joined as the keyboard/synth player."
Elaborating on their sound, the band explains, "DETER take influences from bands such as Casey, Jaws, Being as an Ocean, and Holding Absence. The tag 'dreamo' was more of an inside joke we made because we couldn't decide what genre/movement we belonged to. Our sound is sort of like emo music that takes influence from post rock, melodic hardcore and pop rock."
The band's powerful, guitar-driven debut single, "Pull Me Under," opens Wither & Fade with a mighty burst of energy and tempo. With impressive songwriting and lovely guitar hooks at the bridge, this energetic, yet reflective track is the first sonic thread of Wither & Fade’s vibrant tapestry. Sophomore single "Telling Myself" immediately follows, delivering a syncopated guitar riff that pulses throughout the track, accompanied by Jamie's dark, mesmerizing vocals that build in emotion and angst as the song progresses. This is clearly one of the album's highlights and is my favorite track on Wither & Fade.
The band's first-ever composition, "Thought You Knew," features near the start and is a brilliant representation of DETER's synergistic origins. The upbeat "Something to Say" is song that’s bound to command audience participation with its prominent, infectious chorus: "I've got something to say, and I know you're not gonna like it this time." With its dreamy vocals and impressive guitar riffs that transform into an upbeat, guitar-charged chorus, "Terrible Mess" is another album highlight.
We asked the band to provide some insight into how such impressive songs come together, musically and lyrically. They reveal, "The songs usually start with Jonny writing a guitar section and then we all add our own parts. On terms of the lyrics, they're usually written when Jamie has an idea of how to describe a personal topic in written form. Subjects usually covered within the songs are based around mental health and broken relationships."
Wither & Fade is a great name for an album. Does the title convey any notable theme or meaning across the songs? DETER explains, "The name 'Wither & Fade' conveys the negative aspects of love particularly heartbreak/loss, and also follows a correlation between a decline in mental health and a negative exposure to love. The title itself is a node to how someone can feel less than they were after a romantic situation or relationship has ended and the everlasting impact on one's mental health."
Several of Wither & Fade's more introspective, somber moments rank among some of its most impressive tracks. The sparse, atmospheric "Dare" transforms itself into a sonic wall of electric guitar and emotion-ridden vocals. The sparse production on "When Everyone’s Quiet" perfectly complements the song's overall reflective theme. "Echoes" follows in a similar vein, conjuring up elements of early Slowdive, before seamlessly transitioning into the gorgeous, poignant closing track, "Fade Here" – a clear Wither & Fade musical highlight and one that also holds particular significance to the band. DETER notes, "'Fade Here' is the song that began to push the band in a darker direction for the album and the first song we had written that balanced the focus of love and mental illness together." They add, "The song is also really about the loss of motivation or will to exist."
Even as their debut album has just been released, DETER is already setting their sights on bringing new music to the masses, noting, "Most of the songs on the record with the exception of 'Pull Me Under' were written near the start of the band's life span and as we've developed, we've improved a lot as musicians and songwriters. There's a lot of newer sounds we're wanting to bring to the table after Wither & Fade – so we can't wait to keep pushing on!”
Apart from DETER's album release show at Stereo Café Bar on May 9, the band reports that they also have more Glasgow shows lined up and are planning to play around Scotland over the summer. In addition, DETER recently released a music video for debut single "Pull Me Under" which was directed and filmed by Stuart Breadner/Shootback.
DETER "PULL ME UNDER" (Official Music Video)
For more information about DETER, follow the band on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) and find their music on SoundCloud, Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.